Re: Are e-lists dying? (final post)
- I think it fair to say that the more 'specialized' a list is, the more
likely it is to have fewer participants and therefore fewer
conversations. Remember when SBL tried to get an OT and a NT list off
the ground? Both died quickly due to lack of interest and
participation. Overspecialization is the problem, it seems to me. As
it is also the problem in the guild overall. As Professor Metzger
pointed out years ago- the more specialized one becomes, the less useful.
Further, some lists are quivering on the brink of disuse because they
have allowed the loons to take over. This happened on the old ANE
list. The new ANE-2 is tightly moderated and thus quite engaging.
For one thing that scholars loathe is idiocy. Lists which let anyone
post anything on any topic no matter their qualifications or lack
thereof to offer an opinion are doomed to spin off into madness. The
'biblica-list' is a recent example. It was started because
disgruntled persons who weren't 'getting their way' elsewhere wanted
to have their way in spite of the inevitable consequences (or because
they failed to appreciate the consequences).
So, that said, the more robust lists are robust because of 1) focus
within the broad field (as odd as that sounds- what I mean is that
they are focused on academic issues concerning biblical materials and
yet the whole scope of biblical studies is in view) and 2) tight
moderation. Academics of quality are attracted to exactly that kind
of experience. And they shy away from the nonsense.
Finally, if, as Andrew requests, I offer the 'secret', I would say,
invite, invite, invite. Have discussions of issues people are
interested in. Have 'colloquia' with invited participants. Keep your
list tightly moderated and bar or ban the nutjobs. All will be well
because scholars like to discuss things! The only way elists die is
when scholars are absent and discussion becomes nonsense.
(with apologies to any and all I've offended in the preceding
comments- not because of the comments, but simply for the sake of
Jim West, ThD
--- In email@example.com, "Andrew" <abernhar@...> wrote:
> However, I do not think the e-lists are going to die for four primary
> 1. The e-lists still have "robust memberships," as Jack Kilmon
> pointed out.
> 2. People probably are "still reading elists, just not talking so
> much," as Judy Redman pointed out.
> 3. Not all e-lists are in crisis (apparently just the ones I liked
> to follow): The B-Greek and Biblical Studies e-lists seem to be doing
> just fine (Jim West, please share your secret).
> 4. Above all, people don't want the lists to die. There are too
> many of us who remember how useful the e-lists once were, and plenty
> of others (e.g. Chris Weimer) who understand well how useful they
> could be again. I was greatly heartened by John Stanton's succinct
> response to my question, "Are e-lists dying?": "I hope not!"
- At 04:03 AM 7/16/2008, drjewest wrote:
>...Further, some lists are quivering on the brink of disuse because theyWell, one needn't go over to biblica-list for an example; you can find your
>have allowed the loons to take over. This happened on the old ANE
>list. The new ANE-2 is tightly moderated and thus quite engaging.
>For one thing that scholars loathe is idiocy. Lists which let anyone
>post anything on any topic no matter their qualifications or lack
>thereof to offer an opinion are doomed to spin off into madness. The
>'biblica-list' is a recent example. It was started because
>disgruntled persons who weren't 'getting their way' elsewhere wanted
>to have their way in spite of the inevitable consequences (or because
>they failed to appreciate the consequences)....
test case right here. XTalk, originally CrossTalk, was born in 1996 as an
UNmoderated list. Eventually, it was monopolized(?) by a few cranks, and
the list's future was in jeopardy. Fortunately, Jeffrey Gibson hatched a
plan to save the list, and with assistance from a few henchmen assistants,
and the permission of previous host HarperCollinsSanFrancisco, moved the
list from the HarperCollins server to its present location, where it
survives as a moderated list with aforementioned Gibson as
moderator-in-chief. I am grateful to Jeffrey for his initiative in saving
this list from a premature demise. He still does most of the heavy lifting
on this list behind the scenes, and we all owe him our thanks. He is
assisted occasionally behind the scenes by a few assistants. If you want
to know who they are, you can visit our website at
which, I am embarrassed to say, is badly out of date (Memo to...)
Bob in HI
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